I am working on a forum design project and I have a question for the input mechanism for that forum, while replying to a post user can

  • Some font properties (can be ignored)
  • Insert multiple Images
  • Insert link (with preview)

Basically, this isn't a technical forum and user are not suppose to have advance knowledge of web. Also, most of the user will use this site from handheld devices.

So, what kind of editor should I use

Like Facebook

enter image description here


  • Multiple things (ex. Image post and link sharing) can not be done at once
  • User can not share more than one URL

WYSIWYG editor without preview

enter image description here


  • User has to be aware about the functionality of WYSIWYG editors.
  • Difficult to write from mobile devices.

WYSIWYG editor with preview

Just like Stackoverflow or discourse.org


  • Same as WYSIWYG without preview + more space requirement which could be troublesome with mobile devices

So which editor should I choose which could help me overcome all these cons or at least reduce them.

to summarize I am looking for a editor which can offer me many functionality & can be use by normal internet users (like my grandpa) on web or mobile devices.

  • 2
    Sounds like a job for user testing! Your "cons" are also somewhat short-sited. Your Facebook cons: do users need to do that sort of stuff? If no, they aren't cons; if yes, that isn't the right choice. Your WYSIWYG cons: if you don't know the functionality of the editor it should be inherent in the design, and not working well on mobile devices means you didn't design for mobile devices like you should have. WYSIWYG + Preview, same deal. You need design for what the user is doing on your site, not what users do on other sites. Apr 18, 2014 at 17:10
  • @EvilClosetMonkey Thanks for the advice. +1 for the last line. My requirements are tending more towards WYSIWYG editor but I am worried about basic level internet users and usefulness on mobile devices. Apr 18, 2014 at 17:20
  • There is nothing "advanced" about a proper WYSIWYG editor that would perplex a novice level Internet user. They just have to type, they don't have to use any of the features and you shouldn't force them to. Your editor does not necessarily need to be the same (and probably shouldn't) be the same on a desktop and mobile. Apr 18, 2014 at 18:16
  • @EvilClosetMonkey Thanks again ! Does that mean I can have different input type for web and for mobile? Will that not create a confusion in users mind? I mean, for some users who are habitual for using those features on web will expect the same on mobile devices also. Apr 18, 2014 at 18:32
  • 1
    Mobile and desktop have very different input modalities. If you throw a desktop webpage at a mobile user, or a mobile webpage at a desktop user, that is what will screw them up. Give desktop users desktop interfaces, and mobile users mobile interfaces. Neither Facebook or StackExchange (to use your examples) provides the same interface to post entry on the desktop and mobile - they're different! Apr 18, 2014 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


I would honestly build the least amount possible, release it and wait for people to ask for more features. Start with allowing simple text input and auto-linking urls. Autolinking can make it easy to spam your forum though, so watch out.


I'd put in a small button that shows (expands) / hides (collapses) the more advanced Stack-Exchange-style features. It's convenient to access, but doesn't clutter anything if the user doesn't want or need it.

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